Thanksgiving is almost here, and so are the holidays. Are you taking a road trip to visit loved ones? A cross-country flight? Holiday travel can be fun, but it can also bring anxiety if you’re concerned about your weight during the holidays.
Traveling during the holidays is usually accompanied by a change in your routine. You may wake up at different times, spend the night in a hotel or someone else’s house, and fill your days with bonus activities instead of work. Though some people thrive on a change of pace, it can be nerve-wracking for others — especially if weight management is still a goal of yours over the holidays.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t stay on track! Check out the below healthy tips if you’re going to “get away” this holiday season.
Keeping up with Nutrition
Pack a ‘Plan B’
In your purse, carry-on or in your car, pack some goodies to help you energize and curb a hunger strike. Bring a shaker bottle, travel protein packets, protein bars, tuna packets or jerky. Many of these items can fit easily into an old eyeglass case or an empty mint or gift card tin. This way, you’ll have something to snack on if nothing healthy is available.
Do Your Research
Before traveling, scout the area for healthy finds. Google search before arriving so you’ll know the best local healthy spots before hunger strikes. You can also use apps like Food Tripping.
Know the Menu
When possible, look up menus online and make choices without the pressure of everyone waiting for you to order. Most restaurants now have online menus, but menus are also available on some food apps. Remember that calorie counts don’t tell all; a dish higher in calories might have more wholesome nutrients while a dish lower in calories might not be as nutritionally sound.
Learn to Prioritize
Enjoying the food of a new country or destination is an important part of experiencing the culture. Ask yourself what is a “must” eat, then work it into your plan. If eating gelato by the Trevi Fountain in Rome or beignets at Café Du Monde in New Orleans is a dream, experience it! It’s not the same as eating store brand ice cream or supermarket donuts.
Visit a Farmer’s Market
Nowhere will you get more “local” food than a farmer’s market. Plus, enough samples = free lunch! Find a market near you by visiting LocalHarvest.org.
Watch Your Drinks
Drink mostly no-calorie beverages so you don’t waste calories:
- Water with lemon or lime
- Unsweetened hot tea
- Sugar-free drink sticks as mixers
- Black coffee
Avoid or Limit Alcohol
Each alcoholic drinks can tack on an estimated 150 – 450 calories for a fluffy umbrella drink. Being “tipsy” can also cause you to make poor choices when it comes to food and physical activity.
Learn Key Phrases
While traveling in a foreign country, learn phrases for any special dietary needs or allergies. You can also download the Google Translate app. You might say…
- “Does this have sugar?”
- “No sugar please.”
- “Does this food contain milk or milk products?”
Pack What You Need
Remember that you’ll be away from your routine, including your home and workplace. If you need to take vitamins and/or medications while you’re away, pack them up and put them in a bag that you’ll keep on-hand. The same is true for snacks and drinks if you need to fill-up or hydrate.
Holidays Travel and FITNESS
- Walk around airport gates because you’ll be sitting for the whole flight.
- If you’re traveling for more than four hours, avoid tight clothing. Get up and walk often. If you must stay seated, stretch and move your legs. Try clenching and releasing your calves and thighs or lifting and lowering your heels with your toes on the floor. Drink plenty of water!
- When walking, running or hiking in unfamiliar areas, wear a medical bracelet. If not that, try to at least have your ID on you. This is a basic safety precaution.
- Consider buying travel health insurance. Check your policy for travel coverage limitations.
- Do plenty of sight-seeing by foot! Walking or running is a great way to take-in the sights and get a workout too. Many hotel concierge desks will provide maps of the best areas nearby. Try downloading apps such as AllTrails: Hike, Bike & Run or Map My Walk.
- Wear a pedometer, or use a phone app, to aim for a certain number of steps each day. If you’re traveling with family, have a competition to see who can take the most steps in a day.
- Choose a fitness-friendly hotel with a fitness center, heated pool or even group workout classes.
- Bring along exercise bands or use apps like Sworkit for workouts with no equipment.
About the Author:
Michelle Vicari is the Chairwoman of the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC). The OAC is the Producer of the Your Weight Matters Campaign. Both a bariatric patient and a passionate patient advocate for individuals affected by obesity, she manages her own blog at TheWorldAccordingtoEggface.Blogspot.com.